Experts and workers in the automotive sector in Egypt had conflicting opinions on the executive regulations of the Consumer Protection Law No. 181 of 2018, which was issued by prime minister in early April.
The law provides the right for customers to replace or return any item without giving any reasons or bearing any expenses within 14 days of the purchase date, save for some exceptions on items subject to rapid damage or items returned not in the same condition.
The regulations also obligate the supplier to ensure safety, health rules, and quality standards of the products according to the standard specifications. This is in addition to informing the consumer clearly of all the essential data about the products, particularly the source of product and its components, characteristics, method of use, expected results of usage, price, and payment methods.
The supplier is also obliged to write all relevant data on the goods, including name of the product, country of origin, name of producer/importer, production and expiry date, terms of usage and storage, and warranty.
Raafat Masrouga, the honorary head of the Automotive Marketing Information Council (AMIC), said the new articles in the Consumer Protection regulations insure transparency and comprehensive application of consumer rights in general, which increases the awareness of consumers.
He pointed out that the provisions of this law will reduce the problems that arise between consumer and producer or distributor. Furthermore, Masrouga explained that these laws will protect the consumer from the greed of traders who may resort to many devious means to win judicial disputes.
Consumers did not have the ability to face producers or importers before, but they are currently protected by the state thanks to the new regulations, Masrouga elaborated.
In contrary, Alaa Sabaa, chairperson of Sabaa Automotive, said the new condition of returns policy must be identified. However, this is impossible when dealing with cars, since the car will be already driven when purchased.
He described the regulations as unfair for some products, such as cars, as it is not reasonable to drive the car for a few days then return it to the company when the consumer does not like the colour for example. Sabaa said there must be a technical problem which clearly impacts the car’s performance in order to be replaced or returned.